Opening remarks

by the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Petr Pavel at the 176th meeting of the Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence session

  • 17 May. 2017 -
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  • Last updated: 17 May. 2017 08:57

Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning.  Let me start by welcoming you all - the NATO Chiefs of Defence and the Strategic Commanders - to the second Military Committee meeting in Chiefs of Defence format this year.  And I extend a warm welcome to my EU counterpart and our friend, General Mikhail Kostarakos.

I would especially like to welcome the new members of our group:

  • Lieutenant General Andrey BOTSEV from Bulgaria
  • Major General Leoníds KALNINŠ from Latvia
  • Lieutenant General Leszek SURAWSKI from Poland
  • General Fernando ALEJANDRE from Spain
  • and Lieutenant General Ljubisa Jokic from Montenegro.

Andrey, Leoníds, Leszek, Fernando and Ljubisa - congratulations on your appointments and we welcome you to our group.  We value your experience and counsel as we convey our military advice for the meeting of Heads of State and Government next week and the Defence Ministers next month. 

Today, we will consider the most pressing concerns facing our Alliance and will make recommendations about how to translate political objectives into military reality; to deliver tangible, coherent and sustainable effects that influence the strategic environment to make it more safe and more secure.    

This morning we will focus on the challenges to the South of the Alliance and we will discuss two issues that are high on the political agenda.  These are Projecting Stability to strengthen security beyond our borders and how to enhance NATO’s role in fighting terrorism.  Our discussions will be informed by a strategic assessment of the Middle East and North Africa as we consider the next steps in NATO’s Training and Capacity Building in Iraq and how we could further assist our Mediterranean partners, working alongside other international organisations, and especially the European Union.    

In the afternoon we will welcome our 13 partner nations who work with us to support the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.  SACEUR and the Commander of the RESOLUTE SUPPORT mission will update us on the situation in Afghanistan, and NATO’s new Senior Civilian Representative, Ambassador Zimmerman, will provide the political context.  As part of a wider effort by the international community, the continued development of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces is a vital contribution to the stability of the country - to ensure its own security and permit economic and social development.  Our aim today is to reaffirm our support in the ongoing development of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, preferably aligned with their four year Development Plan.

The remainder of the afternoon will be dedicated to the military implications of strengthening the trans-Atlantic bond and of fair burden sharing. We are aware of the importance of the Defence Investment Pledge agreed by all Nations in 2014 and reaffirmed in Warsaw last year. From the military side, we should focus our efforts on meeting our Capability Targets and the priority areas for enhancing NATO’s military capabilities across all domains.    

Having focused on the South earlier in the day, we will start the session by completing the strategic analysis with an update on Russia and its influence abroad.  We will then consider the entirety of NATO’s tasks, with the aim of developing further recommendations on the capabilities and resources needed for all of NATO’s tasks.

That is the end of my opening comments to the media. Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for joining us this morning - the Strategic Commanders and I will hold a press conference at 18:00 on the outcomes of our discussions today.